The textile and apparel sector is under intense scrutiny over its environmental and human impacts. In response, a number of initiatives and approaches are being taken by companies in the sector to reduce their environmental footprint and move towards genuinely sustainable apparel. Many of these have been set out and debated at our annual Sustainable Apparel and Textiles Conference over the last six years. 

Yet much remains opaque. Despite all the attention the sector has received, and the work that has been done, many questions remain. There is clearly a need for a detached assessment of these and other issues. To address this, Innovation Forum is launching a new annual “Sustainable Apparel Barometer”.

The research project will comprise of in-depth industry research and an annual state of play report, with the purpose of providing tangible outputs that genuinely drive effective action towards climate-positive fashion and apparel.

Benefits of supporting the Sustainable Apparel Barometer

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Support fact-based, independent research that highlights innovation, analyses trends and prompts genuine action

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Raise awareness of your profile and sustainability credentials within the industry through year-round exposure and engagement

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Develop intimate peer to peer connections and network with progressive companies


The research will look at areas such as:

  • The wider context of supply chains. Many of the challenges facing the sector, especially in relation to labour conditions, are the result of deep-seated challenges in supplier countries. What are these and how can they be tackled? We will seek views from disciplines such as development economics and political economy to offer new insights into these contextual issues.
  • What works? Companies have taken a range of different approaches; we will assess each of these to understand which are most effective and why. We will also explore how different strategies might usefully be combined. Cross learnings are key, and breaking silos is a key part of our research and overall work. 
  • Analysis of the real human and environmental challenges facing the sector. Although not an academic document, we will apply academically rigorous analysis to examining the real nature of the issues the sector faces. This will encompass the whole supply chain from raw materials to the behaviours of the end consumer. 
  • The policies needed for change. The policy framework is key. We will provide an in-depth, research-based look at the incentives needed to drive change. Which are currently planned or exist? Which can work, and why?
  • Where next? An assessment of the most promising courses of action for the industry in the coming years, to 2025. We’ll also assess where technology and innovation will have the greatest impact and how this can be leveraged to drive transformation.

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What’s different about this research?

Innovation Forum Action Research is:
  • Independent: Innovation Forum is entirely independent with no mandate. We act as an honest broker unafraid to ask the tough questions and facilitate discussion and progress.

  • Practical: With a clear focus on what is practical and realistic for business, this research is designed to drive action and change throughout industries and supply chains.

  • Free to all: The results and outputs will be shared with Innovation Forum’s entire network of key stakeholders across a range of communications channels to ensure maximum impact.
Innovation Forum Action Research is NOT:
  • A PR platform: The research will NOT simply promote the work of our supporting partners. It will assess best practice across the industry, but will also highlight key failures, lessons learned and the major knowledge gaps that must be addressed.
  • All promise, no delivery: We will NOT promise what we can’t deliver. The issues covered are complex. They won’t be solved in any 12 month period. But we will help deliver progress through in-depth, constructive and practical research into specific issues.
  • Just another PDF: This will NOT be just another PDF report that may or may not be read. It will be a continuing annual process of engagement and dialogue. Key findings will be regularly fed into our industry network and wider stakeholder community throughout the year.
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Innovation Forum is a purpose driven business based in London. Our people have collectively worked in sustainability for decades. Our mission is to help make sustainability mainstream in business. 
As a platform for change, we research, create, and facilitate debate-driven, focused events and discussions tackling the critical business sustainability challenges around the world. We support this work with online publishing, analysis and in-depth research into challenges we know are essential for business innovation towards sustainability, the circular economy, improved resilience and regeneration.

Get in touch

For any questions or more information, please contact:

Tanya Richard
Head of Research
Innovation Forum
[email protected]
Additional research areas

Innovation Forum convenes a series of Action Research initiatives across a range of issues and industries. Additional areas include:





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